The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Career Choice: The Data Scientist Shortage
Whenever jobs get phased out by automation, new career opportunities take their place. In the information age, data is our most precious and plentiful resource. We’re generating staggering amounts of it, with almost all of the 4.4 trillion gigabytes of digital data online created in the last two years. With all the potential those trillions of gigabytes hold, it’s no surprise that data science has become one of the most in-demand fields of the 21st century. Data scientists are sorely needed, and companies are having trouble finding qualified candidates. That’s one of the many reasons data science is one of the most exciting career opportunities of the modern world.
What Does a Data Scientist Do?
Data scientists are responsible for using unstructured data to find insights. These insights can then be used to inform strategic decision-making within an organization, improve efficiency or cut costs, improve marketing efforts, or improve products and services to give customers a better experience. Data can also reveal new opportunities and markets for companies. Data scientists have to know how to ask the right questions, then be able to develop algorithms and models, analyze the data to find relevant patterns that prove or disprove theories, and communicate those findings to decision-makers within the company.
What it Takes to Become a Data Scientist
Although it’s not absolutely necessary, many data scientists have a master’s degree or PhD. The basic tools for data science include programming skills in languages like Python or R, database querying like SQL, basic statistics, machine learning, data munging, and high-level mathematics. Data scientists should also have natural curiosity and be able to effectively communicate with decision-makers about their findings.
Job Prospects in Data Science
Already, job prospects are excellent for people with the skills and education needed for data science. In 2018 alone, it is estimated that the global demand for data science will exceed the supply by over 50%. Companies know that in order to stay competitive, they need to compete in data. Some companies are so desperate for data scientists that they are developing employees in-house to take on these roles. This scarcity represents a great opportunity for those who are interested in this exciting career. Salaries are high and the work can be extremely interesting.
Want to learn more about this in-demand job, educational requirements and outlook? The University of California Riverside’s Engineering program has put together an infographic with everything you need to know to get started toward becoming a data scientist.
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